[NetBehaviour] Invitation to join in dialogue, COVID Net Art discussion

Graziano Milano grazmaster at googlemail.com
Mon Apr 6 11:21:34 CEST 2020

*‘Zoombombing’* info are now on wikipedia:

On Fri, 3 Apr 2020 at 16:31, Max Herman via NetBehaviour <
netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org> wrote:

> Hi Danielle,
> These sound fun, I will try to check one out!
> I think the relevance of Leonardo da Vinci and his fabulous integration of
> art and science, indeed of all the arts and all the sciences, couldn't be
> more essential for the crisis of Covid-19 (a virus appearing during the
> year of Leonardo's 500th anniversary celebrations which I was fortunately
> able to visit in Florence last June).
> How we build on and continue Leonardo's legacy may be crucial to how well
> the planet will cope with the pandemic.
> Last July I got the strange idea, after reading a lot of Calvino's *Six
> Memos*, Giunti's "Decoding Leonardo" edition of the Codex Leicester
> (bought in Florence at the Galileo Museum's Leonardo exhibit), and a book
> on Leonardo's library, that the Mona Lisa is itself best understood as a
> work of network art, specifically, as a mindfulness network map of human
> and planetary history.
> How did this viewing arise?  It occurred to me on the airplane while
> returning from a vacation in California, and was perhaps prompted by
> Calvino's mention in *Six Memos for the Next Millennium*, in Exactitude
> pp. 77-80, of Leonardo's highly poetic and visual description of a
> sea-going dinosaur in the Codex Atlanticus, which Calvino felt Leonardo
> used as "a symbol of the solemn force of nature."
> For whatever reason, either the Calvino, or my recent visit to Florence,
> or my inability (on the same trip!) to visit the actual Mona Lisa at the
> Louvre because we visited on the day of the 1-day strike to protest the
> excessive number of tourists, I was really trying to engage with the Mona
> Lisa on that flight home from California.  I had realized that I thought
> about the ML more than I actually looked at it, and should look at it some
> more (if only out of respect for the artist on his 500th anniversary year).
> What I saw in my mind's eye, looking at the ML in reproduction, was an
> interactive temporal and cognitive map.  This was partly prompted by my
> attempt to "meet the gaze" of the painting, not a quick glance but a
> sustained engagement.  To do this, I used a bit of mindfulness meditation
> while viewing it.  I tried to just look, without analyzing, for a sustained
> time, say five minutes or so.  I appreciated and felt how the ML's facial
> expression changed along with my internal mental state or attitude,
> "responding" in a kindly, admonishing, or neutral depending on my inner
> sense of my own viewing agency.  I saw this as a kind of mute dialogue, the
> image being designed by Leonardo so that an intelligence or knowledge of
> his own could greet and engage with something similar in myself.  This I
> felt to be a cycle, like breathing, not a one-and-done; what in yoga
> sometimes is called the namaste or mutual recognition.
> This way of viewing the painting felt very rich and real to me, in an
> almost shocking way.  It seemed like a true step forward.  So, I looked to
> the background of the painting for clues.  I saw the bleak and empty
> landscape on the left background, showing the tectonic erosion as mentioned
> in the Giunti Codex Leicester pp. 58-59, and a river flow as on p. 14
> (detail of the ML) and pp. 32-34.  This of course also elicited images of
> vortices of water, described in the Giunti thus:  "The spiral is one of the
> shapes of water that most attracts Leonardo (fig. 10), in his eyes it
> represents one of the greatest manifestations of the power of water,
> because the vortices can dig the bottom of the rivers like augers" (p.19).
> I'd known for a while that the horizon line in the ML background is
> disjunct on the left and the right, but why?  It appeared to me that the
> main difference was that the right side was a bit more complex, but most
> strikingly, it had a human-built structure: a bridge.  This had to be a
> major factor -- it was practically the only object in the whole background,
> other than mists, flowing water, and primordial rocks.  Then the visual
> "shock" or rupture hit me, that the bridge flowed seamlessly into a vortex,
> a twisting braid of the sitter's shawl, bringing me back instantly from the
> mists of geologic time to the sitter's garment, then body, then face.
> This struck me as consequential.  The sitter's garment is dignified, but
> far from gaudy or splendid.  It serves mainly to accent the hands (for me
> the most lush and gorgeous part of the picture apart from the eyes), the
> heart (simple and meditative), and the face.  I couldn't have imagined a
> more shocking and indeed blasting return to the gaze from an
> almost-infinite distance in time and space.  I cannot but confess this
> changed my life forever.  I scribbled on a piece of paper so I wouldn't
> forget, and showed it to my wife who was watching a movie on the airplane
> video system: "I figured out what the Mona Lisa means!"  Whatever this tale
> might mean to anyone else, it changed me irreversibly.  In that moment I
> came to love Leonardo and Florence, Galileo and the Arno, in an entirely
> new and complete way.  A friend and true kindred spirit, a colleague, a
> companion, a teacher.  Something like the sun setting behind the Duomo as
> viewed from Michelangelo's piazzale, completely overcrowded yes but still
> there.  Both a haunting question and a generous gift.
> But I wax too poetical.  The epiphany was beautiful yes, and with memories
> of Cinque Terre truly helped me bond with the land where Calvino lived.
> But like all epiphanies do and should, it faded and settled to something
> more quiet.  Was it real, at all, and if so, how?  Was it a major load of
> BS?
> I've tried to research this, to ask others if they can see these visuals,
> or sense this interactive gaze.  So far no luck, but the hypothesis still
> interests me.  I have found references by Leonardo in his notebooks to
> science and learning as garments however, which to me is a fairly exact
> corroboration.  The bridge represents the works of art and science, which
> clothe humanity, but are not to be dominating or prescriptive over
> experience, which Leonardo called his mistress, witness, judge, and
> champion, and which I believe to be instantiated in the intersubjective
> gaze we can share in real time with the painting.  To see it though depends
> on our being present.  This relates to mindfulness and present-moment
> awareness, based on the cycle of breathing, a relatively new frontier in
> neuroscience which I believe must inform our approach to aesthetics and to
> history, the history of both art and science, if we are to truly progress.
> After all, how could we possible progress without being present?  🙂
> This is my speculative hypothesis on the nature of the Mona Lisa: a map of
> evolutionary and geologic time; of the history of art, engineering,
> science, and technology; an ethos balancing the human with the built; and a
> directive for each of us to simply be present as our starting point, goal,
> and locus of individuality capable of connective unity.  This is a map
> designed to help us balance, to understand, to help, indeed to heal.
> Therefore I see this map as a human one, a transformative
> network-aesthetic process tailor made as it were for this moment of
> anthropocene crisis that bridges the medical, scientific, economic, and
> aesthetic realms.
> Very best regards and thank you for all the great work Leonardo does,
> Max
> Notes:
> Calvino, Italo.  Six Memos for the Next Millennium.  Vintage, 1996.
> Laurenza, Domenico.  The Codex Leceister: Leonardo da Vinci.  Giunti:
> Decoding Leonardo.  2018.
> ------------------------------
> *From:* NetBehaviour <netbehaviour-bounces at lists.netbehaviour.org> on
> behalf of Danielle Siembieda via NetBehaviour <
> netbehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org>
> *Sent:* Friday, April 3, 2020 1:57 AM
> *Cc:* Danielle Siembieda <dsiembieda at hotmail.com>
> *Subject:* [NetBehaviour] Invitation to join in dialogue, COVID Net Art
> discussion
> Hi there, I wanted to share a couple of important things Leonardo is doing
> in the next week. I thought you'd like to join us.
> *Coffee and Cocktails - A Social Connecting Space in your timezone.*
> They are on Mondays and Thursdays.* Here is a link with details about
> times, <https://www.leonardo.info/civicrm/event/info?reset=1&id=489>* when
> you register it will email you the private Zoom room information. Our next
> one is Thursday morning at 9:00 AM San Francisco time hosted by Leonardo's
> Managing Editor Erica Hruby.
> I also wanted to make sure you know about and are able to attend a special
> panel discussion for a net art exhibition sponsored by the Chronos Art
> Center and Rhizome at the New Museum in response to COVID-19. We=Link:
> Ten Easy Pieces press release and ten partner organizations can be found
> here <https://www.leonardo.info/welink-ten-easy-pieces>. The artworks are
> currently on the Chronus site here  <http://we-link.chronusartcenter.org/>and
> will soon be on the Leonardo site archived.
> We hope you will join us for an interactive panel on Monday, April 6 at
> 5:00 San Francisco time. *Details are and RSVP here
> <https://www.leonardo.info/civicrm/event/info?reset=1&id=490>. We will also
> share this live on Facebook
> <https://www.facebook.com/events/643544219757375/>.*
> One last thing, we are in the midst of collaborating with our LASER Hosts
> around the world for a global LASER Event. We will announce more soon.
> Best,
> Danielle Siembieda
> Managing Director
> Leonardo/ISAST
> _______________________________________________
> NetBehaviour mailing list
> NetBehaviour at lists.netbehaviour.org
> https://lists.netbehaviour.org/mailman/listinfo/netbehaviour
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